How to bet Horse

The essence of betting on horse racing is betting odds. It's different from betting your neighbor that Tech will beat State in the big football game. There it is head-to-head. Kind of a 50-50 deal. If Tech beats State, you win. He loses. In horse racing, there are eight, 10, 12 horses in every race, and only one can win. To come out on top in this game, you have to cash winning bets when betting on horse racing at the right odds.

The betting on horse racing odds make up for the fact that none of us can pick all the winners. Odds for win bets on all the horses are posted all around the track. In addition, TV monitors show win-betting on horse racing odds PLUS possible exacta and daily double payoffs expressed in actual dollars and cents. The odds are constantly changing in reflection of the betting on horse racing, and are updated on the "tote board."

The "morning line" odds listed for each horse in the program are not actual betting on horse racing odds, but estimates made by the track handicapper of how the public will end up betting on horse racing . So it is often interesting to note a horse that is being bet to odds far different from his morning line. If he's way down, that's called an "underlay" , and might indicate "smart money" is being bet on the horse. A horse way up is called an "overlay" . If it's one you like, that horse could be an excellent buy in the big supermarket at odds. Try to be a smart odds shopper.

Basic wager types for betting on horse races

WIN: When you select a horse to win, you collect if your horse finishes first.

PLACE: You collect if your horse finishes first or second.

SHOW: You collect if your horse finishes first, second or third.

ACROSS THE BOARD: Betting across the board is simply making an equal win, place and show wager on one horse. "$2 across the board on number six" is the same as saying $2 to win, $2 to place and $2 to show on number 6 for a total of $6.

Daily Double

This betting on horse racing exotic bet involves picking the winners of two races in a row. The Daily Double is usually contested on the first two races of the day and the last two races, although some tracks have daily double betting on horse racing throughout the day. The betting is straightforward. $2 is the minimum bet, and you must select the winners of both races on one ticket.


1st and 2nd-place finishers.
For the Quinella, you have to pick (on one ticket) two horses to run first-second or second-first.


1st and 2nd-place finishers.
For the Exacta, you have to pick (on one ticket) the exact order of official finish of the first two horses of a race. If you want No. 2 to win and No. 5 second, simply tell the clerk "$2 exacta, 2-5." Always give the numbers in the order you think your two horses will finish. Your total cost is $2. If 2 wins and 5 finishes third, you do not win. If 5 wins and 2 finishes second, you do not win. NOTE: This wager is also called "Perfecta" at some tracks.


1st, 2nd and 3rd-place finishers.
The Trifecta calls for you to pick the first three horses in exact order of official finish. The simplest form of this wager is the Straight Trifecta, which is a single combination of the first three finishers. The minimum bet for a Straight Trifecta is $2. To purchase, simply tell the clerk: "$2 Trifecta on 1-2-3." Trifectas qualify by each track's rules and regulations (refer to program).
NOTE: This wager is also called the "Triple" at some tracks.

Horse Racing tips:

  • Bet only on horses you feel have a good chance of winning.
  • If you don’t like a horse, don't bet on it.
  • Give preference to winners. Choose a horse that has won before.
  • Avoid betting on a horse that has just moved up in class.
  • Look for value odds as much as likely winners. If you keep looking for them, you will learn to spot them fairly quickly.
  • Look for a horse that has a fair chance of winning and is not overly backed. This is usually a good value bet in the long run. On odds of say, 10:1, you need to win once in ten attempts to break even. Anything more is net profit. Horses backed heavily by touting services and computer handicappers may win more often, but are usually poor value bets.
  • When the track is slow or heavy, give preference to fast starters. Slow, muddy and heavy track conditions usually favor the horse that takes an early lead.
  • A straight bet is simple, manageable and not too difficult to win. Play it but always weigh up the odds. Avoid favorites and long shots (outsiders) too. Be selective - don't bet on anything or everything.
  • When betting straight, consider betting to win and show, or each-way, if the odds are relatively high.
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